A haven for hikers, trekkers and mountain bikers, the northwestern-most stretch of the Santa Monica Mountains is where nature gets bigger and wilder, with jaw-dropping red-rock canyons, and granite outcrops with sublime sea views. The best trails are in Pacific Palisades, Topanga and Malibu.

The Backbone Trail is the longest trail in the range, linking – and accessible from – every state park. It’s 68 miles all told, running from Will Rogers to Point Mugu State Park, and can be completed in a few days.